Beef Pesto- from Peter Gordon’s “The Sugar Club Cookbook”

Guest Contributor’s Notes

While walking the Milford Track in NZ I met an English couple travelling the world for a year in search of great recipes. I asked them where they had found the best, the most interesting food. “Australia and New Zealand” they replied, and we then spent a happy hour fantasizing about food (we were starving – you need to do one of the Great Walks to appreciate!).

Today’s recipe is Peter Gordon’s signature dish from the Wellington Sugar Club – Beef Pesto. Can’t count the number of times I’ve made it– guaranteed crowd pleaser. He serves it over a warm chard salad – recipe to be given at a later date

Ingredients (for six)

For the Beef

• 1 piece of mid beef fillet trimmed – about1.2-1.5 kg
• 500 ml tamari
• 250 ml cider vinegar
• 1 red chilli, moderately hot
• 6 cloves of garlic, peeled

For the Pesto

• 10 cloves of garlic, peeled
• 3 loosely packed cup fresh basil leaves
• 1 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
• 500 ml olive oil
• 1 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted to a golden brown and left to go cold
• 1 cup finely grated Parmesan
• Some more olive oil


Beef – Marinate the beef at least two days before you eat this.

Put the tamari, cider vinegar, chilli and garlic cloves into a blender and purée to a fine consistency for 30 seconds.

Lay the fillet in a long dish, just large enough to hold it, and pour the marinade over it, cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge. Every 12 hours turn the beef over to expose all of it to the marinade. It can be left to marinate for up to a week.

Just before you cook the beef, take it out of the marinade and drain well, then dry with a cloth.

Cut it into six equal pieces and leave to sit until you’re ready to cook it. Heat up a grilling skillet or a grill to a high heat. Lightly oil the fillet on the cut sides and, for the best flavour, grill for no more than 2 minutes on each side.

As it’s marinated the beef won’t need a lot of cooking, but of course if you like your meat well done, then cook it so. Just remember that the more you cook the more you will lose the exquisite succulence and flavour of this dish.

Serve the beef on top of warm chard salad and dollop the pesto on top of that. You will love it!

Pesto - Put the garlic, herbs, olive oil and pine nuts into a food processor and purée to a coarse paste, but be careful not to overwork it. Turn into a mixing bowl and stir in the Parmesan.

Stir in more olive oil to get the consistency you want.

You can buy the cookbook at:

My Notes

Since I received this recipe yesterday, I have yet to try it myself. But it sounds so tasty that I may need to give it a go on Sunday. I want to thank my guest contributor for sharing the recipe and the source, and look forward to recipe for the warm chard salad suggested accompaniment!

And of course, if you have a recipe you'd like to share, feel free to send it my way. I'm all about sharing and there are days like today, after a long night before, when it's especially sweet to have something all ready to go. So, thank you very much, guest contributor :)
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